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28 March 2020 - 12:55
News ID: 449774
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London hospitals are facing a “continuous tsunami” of coronavirus patients and some are likely to be overwhelmed in a few days, according to Chris Hopson, the Chief Executive of NHS Providers – which represents hospital bosses.

RNA - “They are struggling with the explosion of demand in seriously ill patients. They are saying it’s the number arriving and the speed with which they are arriving and how ill they are. They talk about wave after wave after wave,” Hopson told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

“The words that are used to me are that it’s a continuous tsunami,” he noted.

Hopson said that despite a between five and seven fold increase in critical care capacity in recent weeks, hospital staff are horrified by the rate at which beds are filling up, at a rate “greater… than you can ever have possibly imagined”.

To make matters worse, in some NHS trusts between 30 and 50 percent of staff are off sick with suspected coronavirus infection or because they are part of an at-risk group for Covid-19 infection.

Hopson added that the “unprecedented absence rate”, along with the rampant infection rate had created a “wicked combination” that will place the already beleaguered NHS under yet more pressure at the worst possible time. 

An analysis produced by the University of Cambridge estimated that five of the seven NHS commissioning regions would run out of intensive care unit beds within a fortnight. 

The UK currently has more than 11,650 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection with 578 fatalities so far.

A senior UK health chief said the country could be in lockdown for another six months in order to prevent the coronavirus coming back. Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jenny Harries, stated some, but not all, of the dramatic measures imposed this week could last until September.

The UK government is facing allegations they are manipulating coronavirus death numbers, after revealing they are changing the way the figures are released, claiming family consent is now required.

The government has ordered a three-week lockdown of the country which began on Monday evening, though a lack of clear guidance has led to widespread confusion.

The risk of a devastating pandemic was repeatedly raised by UK policy-making officials for 15 years, but the threat was never taken seriously or prepared for by British security and intelligence officials, new analysis announced.

Systematic planning or intelligence gathering around health crises “does not appear to take place in any UK security agency”, despite the fact that their proclaimed roles are to keep the country safe, according to Declassified UK, which conducted the research.

The lack of focus on health crises is not for lack of warnings. The National Risk Register has “regularly concluded” that an influenza pandemic is the “gravest threat” to UK security, and could see potentially 750,000 deaths in a worst-case scenario as well as major supply disruptions without proper precautions.

The Declassified UK analysis comes after the UK faced widespread criticism, including from World Health Organization (WHO) experts, for its slow response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which was initially aimed at building ‘herd immunity’ to the virus. 

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